City of Montevallo burns library loan

Published 1:36 pm Friday, July 15, 2011

Montevallo Mayor Ben McCrory celebrates the debt-free library by burning the last loan statement. Pictured (L-R) are Parnell Memorial Library Christi King, Parnell Memorial LIbrary Board Chair Jane Clayton, Firefighter Justin Taylor, Mayor Ben McCrory, Libbie Rodgers, Parnell Memorial Library Foundation Board Chair Bobby Hughes, Elaine Hughes and Dee Woodham. (Reporter photo/Christine Boatwright)


MONTEVALLO – The Parnell Memorial Library meeting room was filled with applause as Montevallo Mayor Ben McCrory set the library’s last loan statement ablaze on July 14.

McCrory said he recommended to the city council in a prior meeting that the city pay off the $211,000 principal remaining on the library loan.

“As good stewardship of the city’s money, we decided it would be a good decision to pay off the high-interest loan,” McCrory said. “But we wouldn’t be paying off anything without Libbie Rodgers.”

Libbie Rodgers, currently a member of the Parnell Memorial Library Foundation Board, was an integral part of both founding and funding the library.

Rodgers gave a brief history of the library’s progress during the ceremony. In 1998, a group of Montevallo citizens started the foundation board. The idea was to renovate the old Montevallo Library building, but due to the building’s structure, expansion was out of the question.

In 2001, Rodgers became the library foundation board president. The city told the foundation board that the property where the library is now located would be a good place to construct a new library, as the city owned the land.

On Nov. 1, 2004, the library had its ground breaking, and the city agreed to take out a gap loan to cover costs not covered by pledges.

On Feb. 25, 2007, the library held its grand opening.

“We moved in — hallelujah!” Rodgers said. “The community uses every inch of the building and loves it.”

In June 2011, the library set up a 9-day counter to record the number of people coming in to use the library. The counter recorded 2,225 visitors.

The Montevallo Main Street Players found a permanent home in the library’s theatre. The community theatre group made contributions to the principal of the loan whenever they had a “spare buck,” McCrory said.

In the end, McCrory said the library cost nearly $3 million. More than 700 donors contributed to the cost, including foundations, companies, individuals and federal, state and county assistance.

“Whatever the exact amount was, we as a city were able to pay it off,” McCrory said. “The library is debt-free. It truly is a good day in the city of Montevallo.”